Not too long ago, I had the opportunity to talk with Yasith Weerasuriya, President of Stanbridge University. As many readers know, Stanbridge specializes in nursing education and offers programs for students interested in becoming an RN or LPN and a Bachelor of Science degree program that prepares students to be healthcare leaders.

Stanbridge University was voted one of the “Best 25 Private Schools for Nursing” by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education and is accredited by WASC and ACICS. Over 93% of Stanbridge’s graduates have passed their boards on the first attempt, with a large number scoring in the top 10th percentile.

We found the conversation to be very enlightening, and I want to share it with you.

Hi Yasith. Thank you for talking with me today! Let’s start at the beginning of your career in education. What led you into this field?

I was frankly not interested in continuing my education past high school when a career advisor initially approached me. She convinced me that I could go far with further education and pointed out the growing demand for healthcare professionals in America. As she talked about how hospitals were expanding their wings to include sub-acute centers, long-term care facilities, home health companies, etc., I started to see an industry where I could make my mark!

Since then, I have never looked back. I love what I do and get up every day with the thought that this will be a fantastic day!

What are some of the trends you’re seeing in terms of students who want to go into nursing?

To be honest, it’s all about coming to grips with the fact that the nursing profession is a calling. It’s far beyond a job, and it’s a noble profession that calls for honorable people to step up to the plate and be ambassadors of change in healthcare.

The demand for nurses will continue to grow exponentially as hospitals gear up to meet increased demands from aging populations and expand their wings to meet the needs of patients that require sub-acute care, home health services, and other community-based healthcare initiatives.

The nursing profession faces serious challenges with issues like job satisfaction — if we are not careful, there could be a severe shortage of nurses. This means it’s all about attracting quality people to come to join this honorable profession.

What advice would you give to students exploring their options for nursing education?

I always tell people that if you can do anything else, then do it. Nursing is one of the noblest professions out there, and with that comes great responsibility at the bedside and as a member of society. It’s hard work! But, if you are called to the profession, then this is where you need to be.

What changes have you seen in nursing education over the years?

We see a growing trend to graduate nurses that can think critically and possess strong leadership skills. There’s also an increased emphasis on ensuring our graduates are culturally sensitive and aware of issues like diversity and cultural sensitivity and all the challenges of working in a multicultural environment.

Nursing education is undergoing significant changes to ensure the graduate nurse of the future is flexible, capable, and ready for anything thrown their way. Technology has also disrupted nursing education as we know it — today’s graduates are expected to be 21st-century nurses that can handle anything thrown their way.